HAND TURKEYS Y’ALL (And Why Kids Have It All Figured Out)

UPDATE (2017-11-13 10:15 AM EST): Changing the time! To allow more people to participate globally, we’re gonna do it earlier in the day. Still on Friday, November 17th, but now we’re doing it at 1:30 PM EST (10:30 AM PST, 6:30 PM UTC, even earlier so you better pull an all nighter:30 AM AEDT).

So, we were all kids once (the vast majority of us anyway) and for many of us, that meant fun arts and crafts during our formative school years. When I was in kindergarten, we had a list of skills that we were required to learn over the course of the school year. In order to keep track of those skills, we would be given badges to color as we learned them. After we colored the badges, we would paste them onto thin vertical paper banners to showcase our progress. By the end of the year, the classroom was filled with these colorful banners covered in badges, displaying both what we learned and our creativity as we learned it. Plus, each student got to take their banner home as a keepsake once summer came.

For those that know me best, you know that I put a lot of stock in the thought processes of children, especially those around the ages of four or five. At that age, kids start to understand how things really work and they begin to question everything, wondering why things work the way they do. Hell, even that early in life I would go a step further and start disassembling things to see what they were made of. Kids also have a purity about them at that age. They’re driven purely by curiosity and the desire to absorb information, with no ulterior motives or driving forces. This is exactly why I’ve always surrounded myself with like-minded people – questioning how things work, while also taking that next step and thinking of ways to make it better.

For three years, I ran the junior developer team for a piece of IT management software (at the company where I currently work as of this writing). Culture was (and still is) a big talking point across the entire company, especially in that particular product division of about 50 people. Which is why I always focused on hiring people who shared me and my team’s desire to learn new things every day. However, the company’s culture also had a bit of the cliché “Silicon Valley” feel to it. Sure, my team would participate in stereotypical software company team building activities with the rest of the product division, like paintballing and Oktoberfest and so on. But I wanted to make my team feel more like a family instead of just a bunch of “bros” hanging out and drinking while doing stuff.

So I started doing events at my house with the team. I always invited my immediate team, but I would also invite the rest of the product team in case they wanted to participate in something a little different from the norm. Movie nights and Mario Kart tournaments would eventually evolve into the spectacle that is NOMSTER JAM (but that’s a story for another day). However, I’ve always put a lot of stock in the smaller things in life, so I would do little things over the course of the work day. One of the traditions that we started on my team was the annual making of hand turkeys. It only took about 20-30 minutes out of our work day, but it was so much fun to do something silly but still creative and engaging, together. Afterward, my teammates proudly posted their handiwork in their cubicles for all to see.

In keeping with that tradition, I decided that I want to continue the hand turkey activities this year. The only problem is that I moved to a new, experimental team six months ago (more on that later), so I don’t have the same kind of team dynamic that I had in years past. I’m in a completely different building, working with/near totally different people, and I don’t sit with my the people on my new team. Plus, I’m not sure my new teammates would be that into the hand turkey thing. What’s a good problem solver to do other than find a new solution given the different variables? I knew there had to be other people who would be interested in something silly and fun. I mean, now I’m surrounded by our product support teams, so the odds are pretty high. Why not invite the whole support floor to gauge interest? And that’s exactly what I did. Along with tweeting a screenshot of the email I sent out since I’ve been having a productive work week and I’ve had more time than usual to shitpost on Twitter.

Well, the signups started to flood in and I was ecstatic. Seeing so many people who were also interested in a fun activity like this gave me a sense of validation. Then, a few friends made comments of their own about wanting to make hand turkeys in response to my tweet (hi Alley), sp that got me thinking… Why couldn’t this be bigger? The initial experiment worked, so why not expand it and have literally everyone make hand turkeys?

Now for the reason why you’re here. I half jokingly posted a tweet earlier saying that we should all do hand turkeys together next Friday, November 17th at 3:30 PM EST (12:30 PM PST, 8:30 PM UTC, sorry you’re asleep mate:30 AEDT) (see time change above!). But I want to make this A Thing™. So if you have the time and construction paper next Friday, get a bunch of folks together where you are and make hand turkeys. Organize one on your team or at your company. Get your friends, kids, or whoever else involved. We’ve got enough terrible shit to deal with on a regular basis, especially these days. Take a few minutes out of your day to do something simple and fun together with your fellow humans. Also, please post pictures of your creations with hashtag #ALLTHEHANDTURKEYS because you should be proud of the stuff you make. Maybe you’ll make a new friend in the process. At the very least, it’ll give your soul a well-needed break.

One Reply to “HAND TURKEYS Y’ALL (And Why Kids Have It All Figured Out)”

  1. Awesome! I, too, took things apart to see how they worked when I was young. I lost a transistor radio that way and an alarm clock I tried it on never worked quite right again, but I was fascinated by how things worked and all the things that had to be there and connected right for them to work.

    I shall endeavor to remember about the hand turkey! Why not?

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